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Encounters Magazine - Volume 1 Number 2 - Spring 2010
Edited by Guy Kenyon
Cover Artist: Char Reed
Review by Sam Tomaino
Black Matrix Publishing Magazine  
Date: 24 May 2010

Links: Black Matrix Publishing / Pub Info / Table of Contents /

The second issue of Encounters Magazine is here with new stories by Cheryl Gilbert, Robert Mammone, Stephen Frentzos, Jason Helmandollar, Andy Eliason, Dustin Reade, Kurt Fawver, David Soyka, Rose Blackthorn, David Durkmann, Terence Kuch, Neil Coghlan, Bill Wilbur, Chris Sturyk-Bonn, and Kristin Dearborn.

Encounters Magazine , #2 again described as "an eclectic look at scifi, fantasy, horror, contemporary fantasy and the paranormal".

The fiction in this issue begins with "New Rules" by Cheryl Gilbert. A family in a small town, some miles outside of a big City are learning to live without electricity or other modern conveniences. One day, something had happened to the city. All the people disappeared and the power grid went out. The family is coping with dwindling supplies. Will that be enough? This was a nice little chiller.

Another good little horror story comes on "Along Came a Spider" by Robert Mammone. Martin is a tourist in Mexico and bored with the usual attractions. He asks his guide, Miguel, to show him something truly unusual. Miguel says his father knows something of the old religion, which does not appear to be the Aztecs.

Next, Joseph Oswald, a former investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration breaks his silence of 37 years and tells us what caused "The Crash of Flight 1217", in the story by Stephen Frentzos. There are no surprises here, but it is a competently written story.

Jason Helmandollar tells a beautiful story in "Wounded Dog". Our narrator is a young man in a diner, not able to finish his meal. He is unnerved by an old man starring at him and attracted to the beautiful waitress serving him. He's also thinking about his dog, Starlight, from when he was a kid. All this comes together for a very good story that will surprise and touch you.

In "Unearthing the Archon", Andy Eliason gives us a fantasy world peopled by elves, men, dwarves and shape-changing dragons. We don't see men or dwarves but we do see elves on an archeological dig with the unwanted assistance of the dragons. Eryth Wey’dell is a young elfin archeologist who does not get along with her superior, Lecit Korathin. She is convinced they will find the remains of a legendary creature called the Archon. Korathin discourages that idea. Then, the dragons show up because dragon bones had been found. All of this develops into an imaginative fantasy.

"The Munificent Editors of Nowhere Magazine" by Dustin Reade is a short piece about a writer who cannot find a market for his work. He sends his manuscripts to a made-up market called Nowhere Magazine. This one did not really have enough story to click with me.

In "Birth Day" by Kurt Fawver, James and Dawn have just had a beautiful baby girl, but there is a problem. I won't spoil it by giving anything else away but will just say that this was a pretty unsettling tale.

David Soyka's "Driver Education" features Jack Hartwell who runs his own driving school. A young girl named Mavis Lake comes to him for instruction but there is something odd about her. We learn more as things develop in this pretty effective piece.

Next up is "Shadows" by Rose Blackthorn. Matthew Jacobsen wakes up severely injured and in pain. What has happened to him? He thinks back to the night before in this nice little horror story.

"Touch" by David Durkmann is set in a near future in which people have had chips implanted into their brains that allow them access into vast supplies of knowledge. The problem is that people who are not chiplets (as they are called) cannot get a job and are discriminated against. Bayne is a doctor who cannot find work and is growing increasingly desperate. This was a good story about moral choices and I liked it quite a bit.

In "Everything There" by Terence Kuch, Robert Morgan is a college physics professor who has not been much of a success. After a New Year's Eve party, he starts to write in his journal and finds that there are already notes on the day there. He has done some writing on alternate worlds and begins to think he is in one. I might have guessed where this story was going to end up but it was still well-written.

"Screen Six" by Neil Coghlan features Manny Gibbs who works as a security guard in an apartment building . His job is to monitor television screens that show various areas where there might be trouble. He finds that one screen seems to be showing the future. How this all works out makes for a good read.

Bill Wilbur's "I Am Not God" features Scott, who still misses his wife who was horribly murdered. An encounter with a very different ATM machine changes things for him in this brief but well-done tale.

"She Had Never Been His" by Chris Sturyk-Bonn features Mark and Amber who run a school for autistic children, named after their daughter who is autistic. They suddenly have a huge influx of students and cannot figure out why. They find out in this touching story.

Last of all, there's "Dappler’s Department Store" by Kristin Dearborn. A woman accompanies her husband to a large department store and finds something she isn't expecting. Nicely done.

Black Matrix Publishing seems to be doing well. I was very happy to see they took my suggestion and included author bios. Check them out at their website www.blackmatrixpub.com if you want to support new writers and their publisher

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